§ 31-47.3-1 Legislative findings.
(a) Diesel emissions, due in large part to their high concentrations of particulate matter, are associated with severe and multiple health risks to the citizens of Rhode Island, including increased risks of cancer, decreased lung function, aggravated asthma, heart attacks and premature death. Reducing diesel pollution will also help advance the state's climate protection goals and climate action plan by reducing black carbon pollution.
(b) Diesel exhaust also contains nitrogen oxides, which contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. Rhode Island continues to be classified as a "serious-nonattainment area" for ozone.
(c) Reducing diesel pollution may help to stem the tide of the asthma epidemic in Rhode Island where more than one in ten (10) citizens have asthma. Rhode Island ranks eighth (8th) in the U.S. for the worst asthma rates overall, and has the fifth (5th) highest rate for children. Rhode Islanders pay about forty-one million dollars ($41,000,000) per year in asthma-associated health costs. Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children and responsible for the most school absences in Rhode Island.
(d) The EPA, recognizing the harmful effects of diesel emissions, issued new fuel and engine emission standards that will reduce particulate matter emissions from engines model year 2007 and newer ninety percent (90%) below previous levels.
(e) The same technology that reduces emissions by up to ninety percent (90%) for new engines can be retrofitted onto existing engines, which will continue to operate for years.
(f) As a first step in tackling the diesel pollution problem in Rhode Island, school buses should be given high priority.
(P.L. 2007, ch. 177, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 219, § 1.)